Tampa, Florida


Email Tom Young Tom Young on LinkedIn Tom Young on Twitter Tom Young on Facebook Tom Young on Avvo
Tom Young
Tom Young
Attorney • (813) 251-9706

BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2016-782: Home address, not vacation rental address


The following is an Appeal Panel Decision issued pursuant to Section 6 of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement and the Rules Governing the BP Appeals Process. Links may have been added to assist the reader. The original decision may be found here, as well as a glossary of BP Settlement terms.

Claimant is a Zone C, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida-based business which does business under the fictitious name of [XXXXX]. Claimant provides baby furniture (i.e. cribs) to tourists visiting along the Gulf Coast. The Claims Administrator denied the claimant’s Start-Up BEL claim after determining that Claimant failed to satisfy the Customer-Mix Test.

Exhibit 7 requires the claimant to demonstrate that at least 10% of its customer are “non-local” or tourists, that is, they reside more than 60 miles from the claimant’s business location. During the course of the claim, Claimant provided invoices for its customers. These invoices reflected the local address where Claimant delivered the furniture but did not indicate where the customer actually resided. Claimant requested reconsideration and obtained addresses for most of the customers in the Benchmark Period which showed that the vast majority lived well beyond the 60 mile radius from Claimant’s business, making them “non-local.” The Claims Administrator did not accept this additional information and denied the claim, noting that “per CAO Guidance, the claimant’s customer address is the location of the vacation rental in which the claimant’s customers are staying.” Claimant contends this determination was error.

BP argues that Policy 345 v.3 describes the type of documentation that the Claims Administrator can rely upon to identify “non-local customers of a tourism business like the claimant’s.” The policy provides that “contemporaneously maintained” receipts, etc. can be considered but “the Claims Administrator interprets the Settlement Agreements documentation requirements as mandatory” and that the “Settlement Agreement does not grant the Claims Administrator discretion to waive these requirements.” Thus, while acknowledging that Claimant is a tourism-based business and not contesting the fact that Claimant delivered furniture to customers who resided outside the local area, the claim should be denied because the customer’s addresses were obtained later and not “contemporaneously.”

After a careful review of the record, given the claimant-friendly nature of the Settlement Agreement, this panelist concludes that the Claims Administrator erred by failing to consider the addresses of Claimant’s customers. Accordingly, the denial is overturned and the claim is remanded to the Claims Administrator with instructions to consider this information and calculate an award for the claimant if it otherwise qualifies.

Leave a Comment

Have an opinion? Please leave a comment using the box below.

For information on acceptable commenting practices, please visit Lifehacker's guide to weblog comments. Comments containing spam or profanity will be filtered or deleted.